ホーム > アーティスト > 指揮 > ズービン・メータ (Zubin Mehta)
Zubin Mehta’s father, Mehli Mehta, was a violinist who at one time played in the Hallé Orchestra under Sir John Barbirolli, founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra, and conducted the American Youth Orchestra. Zubin Mehta has recalled that he was ‘…brainwashed with classical music from the cradle’, and initially learnt to play the piano and violin, as well as to conduct; by the time he was sixteen he was conducting rehearsals of his father’s orchestra. He studied medicine for two years but then abandoned this path when he was eighteen in order to study conducting at the Vienna Academy of Music with Hans Swarowsky, who accurately predicted that he would become ‘a great figure in the history of music’. While in Vienna he also played the double-bass professionally, and was able to attend the final performances given by Furtwängler and to observe Karajan at first hand. Subsequently Mehta received guidance from Alceo Galliera and Carlo Zecchi at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, and at Tanglewood from Eleazar de Carvalho. He took the first prize in the 1958 International Conductors’ Competition organised by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, as a result of which he worked as an assistant conductor with the orchestra for a year, and was also a prizewinner in the Koussevitzky Competition at Tanglewood.
Quickly developing an international reputation, Mehta conducted many different orchestras throughout Europe, including a guest appearance in 1961 with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on the night of the death of its founder, Sir Thomas Beecham, whose birthday Mehta shares. In the same year he also made his debut with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; and substituted for Ormandy with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra and for Reiner with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. His success in Montreal led to him serving as the orchestra’s chief conductor from 1961 to 1967. In Los Angeles however he was offered the post of associate conductor with the Philharmonic Orchestra without the knowledge of the recently-appointed chief conductor, Georg Solti, who immediately resigned; as a result Mehta himself was offered the position of chief conductor, which he held from 1962 to 1978. He was thus the first musician in North America to hold two major orchestral appointments concurrently. He made his operatic debut in 1964 conducting Puccini’s Tosca in Montreal, appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for the first time in 1965 conducting Verdi’s Aida, and made a memorable debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden conducting Puccini’s La fanciulla del West.
Mehta first conducted the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1962, and in 1967 at the outbreak of the Israeli-Arab war cancelled all his engagements to work with this ensemble. The following year he led it on a successful European tour; in 1969 he was appointed its chief musical adviser, and in 1977 he became its chief conductor. His relationship with the orchestra is extremely strong: in 1981 he was made its conductor for life, an appointment with very few parallels elsewhere. He has conducted the Israel Philharmonic in over two thousand concert performances in Israel and on tours covering five continents. In 1978 Mehta succeeded Pierre Boulez as the chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, once again maintaining a long relationship, which lasted until 1991, and recording a considerable amount of contemporary American music with the orchestra. Subsequently Mehta’s career moved towards Europe and to the opera house: in 1985 he became chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale in Florence and in 1998 was appointed chief conductor of the Bavarian State Opera, a position which he retained until 2006. In March 1996 he completed a four-year commitment to perform Wagner’s Ring cycle with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and he was named as honorary conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in 2004. Mehta has received many awards and honours, including the Nikisch-Ring of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as honorary membership of this orchestra in 2001.
Possessed of great personal charm, Mehta is a highly competent conductor at a technical level, with a preference for rich orchestral sonorities. Interpretatively his performances are completely reliable, if occasionally without the final stamp of personal conviction. His discography is immense. Initially he recorded for Vox and RCA, before embarking upon an extensive relationship with the Decca record company, for whom he recorded a wide repertoire with the Los Angeles and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras; Decca’s fine engineering showed to great effect Mehta’s mastery of rich orchestral textures. Later he moved to other labels, including Sony/CBS. Mehta achieved popular world-wide recognition as the conductor of the first ‘Three Tenors’ concert given in Rome in 1990, which was televised internationally.
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